Burundi has one of the highest population densities among the world’s poorest countries and has witnessed substantial civil conflicts. This resulted in large migration flows between 1960 and 2000, particularly from the 1972 and 1993 conflicts.

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) were settled in sites established for them, while other people fled to neighbouring countries and were mainly settled in refugee camps. While Tanzania hosted the majority, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were also the destinations of Burundians seeking international protection. Another part of the Burundian Diaspora was since hosted in some countries in Europe and North America.

IOM in Burundi

Burundi has been an IOM Member State since 2007. In 2010, Burundi and IOM signed a cooperation agreement that led to the establishment of an IOM Mission in Burundi.

The mission works closely with the Government of Burundi in implementing the core migration-related challenges in the country. The Organization’s current main activities in Burundi are related to: 

  • Refugee resettlement and reintegration. IOM works in close collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Burundi to make the refugee resettlement to third countries a reality and as least arduous as possible. While UNHCR is responsible for ensuring the protection of refugees, IOM facilitates their movement to third countries. 
  • Refugee assistance. Since 2002 to date, approximately half a million refugees were registered by UNHCR to return to Burundi from different countries. In addition, the country still has an estimated 100,000 IDPs. While a significant number of refugees have been assisted to return – which now poses an additional challenge to the country – there have been efforts to ensure that the Burundian Diaspora is increasingly engaged in the ongoing socio-economic and political processes in the country, and specifically in the current global and regional dialogue processes on migration and development. 
  • Reintegration of Burundian former refugees. IOM has assisted in the return and reintegration of 10,013 families of former Burundian refugees returned from Mtabila, Tanzania. IOM is carrying out a project aimed at responding to the immediate livelihood needs of the most vulnerable people among the returnees, particularly women, children, the elderly, and the mentally challenged.
  • Technical cooperation on migration management. Since March, 2010 IOM has been implementing a project on Migration Policy Development. IOM is assisting the Burundian Government in the development of a National Migration Policy through the implementation of activities such as capacity building, the establishment of an Inter-ministerial Committee on Migration, the assessment of the framework of migration management in the country and the drafting of the National Migration Policy.

The key ministries for this project are the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Public Security. Burundi benefits also from the project managed by IOM in Tanzania on Capacity Building in Migration Management (CBMM) with the support of Police de l’Air, des Frontières et des Etrangers (PAFE) at the central level and at various borders posts.
In efforts to efficiently perform its roles, IOM in Burundi has partnered with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender and Police de l’Air, des Frontieres et des Etrangers (PAFE).

 Facts and Figures

Capital Bujumbura
Population (2015): 11.2 million
Area: 27,834 km sq
Languages : Kirundi, French, Swahili
Currency: Burundi Franc (BIF)
GDP per Capita PPP (2014): USD 794
HDI Rank (2014): 184 of 188
Remittances (2014 estimate): USD 51 million
Net Migration Rate (2015-2020): 0.3 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2015): 2.6%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2015): 50.7%
Population under 15 (2015): 44.8%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2014): 1.10%

Sources and Definitions for Country Facts and Figures


IOM Burundi
13, Avenue Ririkumutima, Kabondo Ouest
B.P. 510 Bujumbura – Burundi
Tel:  +257 22301400
Email:  iomburundi@iom.int

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